Kevin R. McCarthy for Jefferson County Commissioner

This Years Property Valuations and Taxes

Seems a lot of people are ‘concerned’ about their property valuations this year. I know I am. I’ve basically done nothing to my property (OK, I finally replaced my deck and a wooden fence from Rita damage), but still.

According to the County Assessor, the property valuations are based on the local market. Someone explain to me why, if our property is worth more because of the market, then how come I can see two ‘for sale’ signs out my front window? They’ve been up for weeks. A brief drive around the neighborhood shows me several for sale signs that have been up for months.

So here are some really basic figures that I’ve done. Please keep in mind that these are estimates.

2007 County Budget: $135,000,000 (135 million dollars)

Tax Rate (per $100): $0.39

Approximate Total Property Valuation for Jefferson County: $34,000,000,000 (34 billion)

2008

Approximate Total Property Valuation for Jefferson County (average increase about 15%): $40,000,000,000 (40 billion) NOTE: per KFDM story

2008 County Budget (same as last year): $135,000,000

Tax Rate needed to achieve budget goal: $0.33 (per $100)

Alternative County Budget (my preferred estimate): $110,000,000

Tax Rate needed to achieve budget goal: $0.27 (per $100)

These are rough rounded figures.

Tax Discussion

First, How much do you want to bet that they will lower the tax rate to 37 cents per $100 and tell everyone how they are lowering taxes?  Yet the actual paid taxes increased for everyone and it netted the county the most income ever.  I explained the issue in a fairly long e-mail that I sent to all the media.  Only Tom Wright of KFDM even replied to me and it took some time before he believed me.

I’m not on the commissioners court yet, so I’m not privy to the detail budget and accounting figures.  I really want to know how much of that $25,000,000 ‘Emergency Fund’ is left.  There have been no events that, in my mind, would qualify for using the fund, so there had better be twenty five million left in it.  I’m concerned that the current court is using the fund for things that are not really emergencies (like Ford Park).

So assuming that the slush fund is intact, then that money can be removed from the budget; dropping it from $135,000,000 to $110,000,000.

That’s assuming that no county departments get a budget cut or increase.  I don’t really see the need for an increase.  Every business in the world is tightening their belts and doing more with less.  Only the government is steadily increasing their budgets.  The very least that they could do is maintain the current budget level.  I really suspect that some departments could survive with small cuts.

That would be my proposal.  A Jefferson County budget of $110 million dollars (or slightly less) and a tax rate of 27 cents per $100.  That would actually be a tax cut for citizens of Jefferson County, not a fake cut where you still end up paying more.

Information Sources

KFDM News Report

Jefferson County Appraisal District Website

Jefferson County Taxing Entities and Rates

April 23, 2008 - Posted by | Campaign, Jefferson County, Politics, Port Arthur, Texas |

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